The organic compound, trace amine and natural monoamine alkaloid phenethylamine (PEA), acts as a central nervous stimulant in the human brain. Phenethylamine in the brain regulates monoamine neurotransmission through binding to trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1), and inhibiting vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (2 (VMAT2)) in monoamine neurons. It also functions as a neurotransmitter within the human central nervous system to a lesser degree. Phenethylamine, which is made from L-phenylalanine in mammals, can be produced by the enzyme aromatic L’amino acid descarboxylase via an enzyme-enzymatic decarboxylation. Phenethylamine can also be found in other organisms and foods after microbial fermentation

Phenethylamine can be used as a dietary supplement to improve mood and weight loss. However, significant amounts of phenethylamine are metabolized in small intestines by monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B), and then aldehyde-dehydrogenase- (ALDH), where it is converted into phenylacetic acids. The dosage of phenethylamine must be greater than that used for other administration methods in order to reach the brain in significant amounts. It is believed to play a role in falling-in-love. However, it has not been supported by any evidence.

Substituted phenethylamines or phenethylamines are a group of phenethylamine derivatives that contain phenethylamines as a “backbone”. This chemical class also includes derivative compounds formed by substituting one or more hydrogen atoms from the core structure of the phenethylamine with substituents. The class of substituted phenethylamines includes all substituted amphetamines, and substituted methylenedioxyphenethylamines (MDxx), and contains many drugs which act as empathogens, stimulants, psychedelics, anorectics, bronchodilators, decongestants, and/or antidepressants, among others.

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